Hello Fresh Freezer Gel Evaporates into this

What is in those freezer gel packs? We get to the bottom of this mystery including what happens when all of it evaporates and what is left. Hint- it involves sodium polyacrylate.
Hello Fresh gel packs

What happens when we let Hello Fresh Freezer Bags evaporate?

Find out in less than 4 minutes in this video! Or read below!

Background- Hello Fresh delivers 2 meals for our family of 5 once a week.  With that are about 10lbs of freezer bags.  Every week we discard the freezer bag contents into the trash as recommended.  It is not good to dump in sink as it could potentially clog pipes. 

After a little research, we find that the freezer bags are mostly water and sodium polyacrylate.  There is nothing we can find that shows what is left over once the water evaporates. And since it isn’t on the web, I had to take this on… 

Objective-  Figure out how much solid is left over after a freezer bag evaporates. And what does that solid look like?  Will it revert to powder form? 

Method-  After changing our method a few times, to minimize the time, bugs, dirt and account for working around a family of 5 schedule, we accelerated this experiment to the optimal conditions for fast evaporation.  

Which was: 

Large surface area, hot weather conditions, and some air flow (wind)

Protocol:

  • Measure 10oz and pour into 4 plastic trays (13×9)
  • Set 3 outside (for quick drying) 
  • Set 1 inside at room temperature (longer dry time but less outdoor elements)
  • Allow to dry
  • Measure solid residue

Observations:

It took 1 day to evaporate all the water from the outdoor tray that was sitting in the hot July sun. 

It took 4 days to evaporate all the water from the outdoor tray in indoor tray in room temp.  

Plastic film is left once freezer bag dries out. 

2g of solid recovered for every 10oz of liquid (don’t have scientific scale so this is approx)

Conclusion:

A 5lb freezer bag could be divided up in 8 trays and left to dry out inside for 4 days, or outside in hot weather conditions  resulting in only .6 oz of solid film.

What can we do with this knowledge?

Not sure…maybe 2 things… 

I guess we can be comforted by the fact if we toss 10lbs of freezer bag contents in trash, it eventually will evaporate in the landfill, with minimal sodium polyacrylate film

And we might encourage people to ALWAYS cut the bag open to release it in trash so it can evaporate.  

Other than that we would love to hear if anyone found a great utility for this freezer gel.  

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